THE FOURTH BOOK:
ADMONITIONS HELPFUL TOWARD UNITING ONE'S SELF
WITH THE HEART OF JESUS IN BLISS
CHAPTER XIII. THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS WILLED, THAT THE MOST HOLY EUCHARIST
SHOULD BE AN ENDURING REMEMBRANCE OF HIS PASSION, AND AN EVERLASTING
MEMORIAL OF HIS LOVE DISPLAYED THEREIN
1. The voice of Jesus.-----As often as ye shall eat this Bread, and drink the chalice; ye shall proclaim the death of the Lord, until He come.
This I enjoin, My Child, to remind all men of that excess of the love of My Heart, whereby I loved them, in some manner, more than Myself; since I suffered death in order that they might have life.
I glory in that death, whereby, whilst the love of My Heart triumphed, the Eternal Father was appeased and exceedingly honored; whereby men were set free and saved; whence arose for Me the glory of the Resurrection, and Ascension, and of My everlasting reign over all things.
And, therefore, I willed that there should be, always and everywhere, a remembrance of My Passion; and that they who reaped the fruits thereof, whether in heaven or on earth, should ever thankfully remember so great a condescension.
2 And, assuredly, in their heavenly bliss, the Elect are ever mindful of My Passion, knowing that to the same they owe their salvation and glory: and they worship forever the Lamb of God, as it were slain, having five wounds, more splendid and dazzling than the sun.
On earth, the Church,----acknowledging that she was brought forth by My Heart when It expired upon the holy Mountain, and that, from that same fountain, all good things flow down upon her,----does not cease to commemorate with every feeling of gratitude My death, all days, until I come to take her up with Me into glory. For the Sacrifice which she offers daily, has Me present as the Vic- tim, and, by the separate Consecration of the Body and Blood, exhibits Me as it were dead.
Besides, in every soul that partakes of the most Blessed Sacrament, there is made some representation and commemoration of My death. For, as upon the bed of the Cross, through the Passion. I lost My mortal life, so, through Communion, I lose My Sacramental life in the heart of the faithful.
Nay more, My Child, the state itself wherein I here continue is a certain image of My Passion For, in My Passion, the splendor of My Divinity, and the very beauty of My Humanity was in some manner veiled: and are not the lowly and gentle species of the Sacrament an evident representation of this veiling?
3. The Sacrifice of the life of My Heart, My death, is the centre of time. Whatever had gone before, sacrifices, ceremonies, and everything else belonging to Religion, had reference to it: thence they derived all their power and efficaciousness.
In like manner, whatever follows it, Oblation, Sacraments, and the rest, all have relation to the same, and possess thence their virtue and efficacy.
Behold, then, the Sacrifice offered up from the beginning of the world in types, upon the cross in truth, continued, substantially, in the Church even to the end of ages. "
Such, My Child, is the unfathomableness of the designs of My Heart: such is the extent of My love!
Hence, My whole career on this earth, from the beginning even to the end of the world, whether through My promised presence, My mortal life, or My Sacramental abiding, and whatsoever I effect by these means, is one whole, one perfect work of infinite Goodness; to be completed only then, when, at the end of time, with the Church, I shall mount on high, to enjoy an everlasting triumph.
4. What wonder,----then, My Child, if the mystery appears to thee ever new, ever equally worthy of veneration, when thou receivest the holy Communion, when thou hearest or celebratest the holy Mass?
For, when thou receivest the holy Eucharist, thou shouldst ever be present with the same disposition of heart, with the same affection, as if thou wert at the last Supper, and didst sit down to the same, to receive from Myself the Bread of life.
It is in reality the same Supper: and the same death, that I foreshowed in the Supper-room, thou showest in the Sacrament.
By the action itself, Child, when thou celebratest Mass, or takest the holy Communion, thou proclaimest My death; since the manner of either, as well of the offering of the Sacrifice, as the consuming of the Sacrament, proclaims the same death.
5. But when thou art engaged in mysteries so great, which My Heart by Its death merited for thee, thou must also, on thy part, do that, whereby thou mayst be enabled to commemorate it in an appropriate manner.
As, therefore, in My Passion, I offered Myself to God the Father for a perfect holocaust; so thou also shouldst offer thyself to Me in holy Communion as a clean and entire victim.
Yea, even whilst visiting Me, it is proper that, with great feeling of piety, thou do commemorate the sacrifices of My once suffering life: which thou wilt do, if thou meditatest with devotedness, if thou resignest thyself to Me in every affliction; if thou givest thyself wholly to Me, in the presence of the sacred Tabernacle; where all thou perceivest around thee serves to put thee in mind of those sacrificings of My Heart.
Thus, Child, thou wilt better feel the greatness of that charity, whereby, from a life of labor and sorrow, I advanced through many and great sacrifices, to that last and supreme sacrifice, even to death, and to this captivity of love, wherein I continue an abiding Victim of love.
By affectionately calling this to mind, wilt thou not be excited to gratefulness, to a requital of love, to imitation; so as to show forth in thyself the effect of My example, not only in thy heart but also in thy works?
Thus, whilst, in a practical manner, thou commemoratest My Passion more profitably to thyself, thou wilt learn not to be cast down or troubled by humiliations; but rather, in a supernatural manner, to glory and rejoice therein.
This active remembrance of My death will be perfect, My Child, if as often as thou approachest the sacred mysteries, thou dost ever more and more die to thyself and to creatures, in order that thou mayst live for Me, as I, after having died for thee here live for thee.
6. But alas! although there are many who wish to be refreshed by this heavenly food, and to be thence replenished with the delights of the Angels; how few there are willing actively to recall My Passion, to imitate it in practice!
Therefore also, My Child, many are and continue ever the same, ever imperfect, although they do not unfrequently approach the sacred Table.
For, since they do not correspond to the end of its Divine institution and to grace granted therein, they remain deprived of much fruit.
Would that this were understood by those that are more anxious about the number of their Communions, whereby they may show or feel devotion, than about the fruit of them, whereby they may be sanctified and raised to greater perfection!
Thou, Child, be thou wiser and more faithful. So recall My Passion, so express My death in thy conduct, that, whenever thou receivest the holy Communion, thou dost always obtain its fruits of sanctification.
7. The voice of the Disciple.----O most bountiful, most sweet Jesus! Thou didst die for love of me. and here livest for me by love: and oh! how dost Thou here live for me!
Truly, Lord, truly he deserves death, who refuses to die to self, that he may live for Thee.
If Thou, Lord God, thus sacrificest Thyself for love of me, how is it anything great, how is it wonderful, if I, wretched creature, sacrifice myself for love of Thee!
And yet, I blush to say it, sometimes I hesitate to sacrifice, not myself, but a trifle, some pride, some aversion, or inclination of corrupt nature.
Woe is me! whilst in words I make profession of loving and following Thee, I show in my deeds, how little I cherish Thee, how far I am from a practical remembrance of Thy Passion, from a true Imitation of Thy Heart.
And can I complain or wonder, that my Communions produce so little fruit for me?
One Communion can make a person, that is well-disposed and co-operates with Thy grace, a Saint. And, after so many Communions, alas! who and what am I?
I myself, O Lord, I myself, I own it, am in fault: for in so many Communions I have received grace enough to sanctify a thousand souls; but I have neglected to co-operate therewith. For I acted as if grace alone, without my co-operation, ought to sanctify me: and, meanwhile, I have continued to live for nature, not for grace, for myself, not for Thee.
I acknowledge that, in Thy sight, I have become unworthy of life, since, abusing Thy infinite love, I have neglected to live for Thee.
But spare, Lord Jesus, spare, I beseech Thee, my past negligence, of which, for Thy love, I repent exceedingly.
Henceforth, I will be more faithful: co-operating with the grace of the Sacrament, I will die to the things of this world, to the ill-ordered inclinations of nature, that I may live for Thee.
Assist me, most kind Jesus, that I may thus prove my love for Thee in deed, and may ever derive, from holy Communion, abundant fruit of sanctification.
CHAPTER XIV. THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS DISPLAYS UN THIS WONDERFUL SACRAMENT
THE SUM AND SUBSTANCE OF ALL DIVINE MYSTERIES
1. The voice of Jesus.-----Being merciful and gracious, the love of My Heart has made a remembrance of Its wonderful works.
This It has chiefly done in the Sacrament, where It has gathered together Its astounding prodigies, where It encloses even the profound mysteries of God.
And because these things were done, not for the Angels but for men, it was proper that it should be under visible symbols, that, by the sight of things seen, they might be put in mind of the unseen, and that their sensitive heart might be worked upon by sensitive proofs of the Divine love.
Such things, therefore, did the love of My Heart do: and It saw that all It had done was exceedingly good, and It was delighted with Its works.
All Its works are perfect and full of sweetness, whereby It has poured out, as it were, the riches of Its goodness toward men, in this mystery,----wherein the plenitude of the Divinity corporally dwells.
2. Hence, My Child, this Divine Sacrament possesses, by concomitance, and ever recalls to the minds of the faithful, the sublimest of mysteries, that of the Trinity.
For I and the Father are one: and he that seeth Me, seeth also the Father; but where the Father and the Son are acknowledged, the love of the two, which is the Holy Ghost, is certainly not unknown.
But to know this mystery the better, to love it the more, to adore it the more worthily, grace is here given to the faithful, that, aided and enlightened thereby, they may believe it more firmly, love it with purer affection, and venerate it with a more perfect worship.
Guided by this light from above, and strengthened by this assistance, they proceed from one mystery to another.
3. For behold! the most sweet mystery of the Incarnation is also contained in the holy Eucharist, and extended in a marvelous manner.
Indeed, what is the mystery of the Incarnation? The Word, and a Soul, and the Body come together in one Person: and these three are one Jesus, the God-man.
Now, in the most Blessed Sacrament, the Word, that is Eternal and God; the Soul, which was created when it was infused; the Body, which, by the Divine operation, was taken without blemish of the Immaculate Virgin; these three abide: but they abide in the unity of Person. Moreover, here there is an extension of this mystery, marvelous and overflowing with every delight. For I, the same Who, by the Incarnation, dwelled in the bosom of the Virgin, dwell by the Communion in the heart of each one of the faithful communicants.
Astounding, indeed, and awe-inspiring is the death and breadth of this mystery; but it is all the more worthy of love, it should be relished with the more delight, devotion, and tenderness.
4. Besides, all the mysteries, so full of consolation, of My whole life are also contained in this Divine Sacrament.
For although the time, when these began and took place, has passed away, yet, by reason of My personal presence, these continue in their effects and are present.
Therefore, also, the Church ever views and celebrates them as present: and, in meditating on them and commemorating them, she is ever animated with her first sentiments, ever burns with her first fervor.
Look, on the other hand, at heresies and sects which deny My perpetual Presence in the Eucharist: how in them all things spiritual languish: how dead their ways as well as themselves, when they attempt to recall My actions by means of festivals!
It is not so with My Beloved, My holy Church. When the time returns, she hastens to the Cave of My Nativity; there prostrate, she gazes upon Me, lying in the manger; she adores, rejoices, sheds tears----through tenderness of devotion.
5. Here is the Bethlehem where faithful souls find Me more sweetly and more easily than they whom Heaven called formerly to the Stable: where they enkindle their fervor, nourish their piety, sanctify themselves: where they pour out their hearts, and consecrate them to Me: where, in return, they are inebriated and rendered blissful with the sweetness of My love: where the Angels do not promise peace to men of good will, but where I Myself bestow it upon them with a lavish Heart.
Here is the Sanctuary, wherein I am presented to God the Father, and devoted to the salvation of men; wherein I so give Myself to the faithful, that they may not only take Me into their arms, like Simeon, and caress Me as did Anna, but receive Me into their very hearts, and enjoy Me intimately, by a favor granted neither to Simeon nor to the blessed Anna.
Here is the exile of Egypt: a banishment, not, as formerly, of seven years, but of all ages: a banishment, among men likewise given to idolatry,----who worship pleasures, riches, honors as their deities: a banishment wherein I am unknown, except to a few, and looked upon and slighted by many as a stranger.
Here is the Temple, wherein I continue to be occupied in what concerns My Father: where, in the midst of the listening doctors, I utter My Spirit, instruct souls, communicate the hidden things of the spiritual life: where they that love Me, seek Me, and, like Mary and Joseph, rejoicing find Me.
Here is Nazareth, where I lead a life hidden in God: where, being made subject, I am occupied in ceaseless actions, which do not indeed strike the senses of men, but excite the admiration of Angels: where, a pattern of the interior life, I live with interior souls in a manner known to them alone.
6. Nay more, My Child, in this Sacrament are seen the mysteries of My Evangelical life. Behold here truly the field of My labors, the place of the well-doings of My Heart.
For here I am the Saviour, Who seek that which was lost; Who, amid My labors, seat Myself near the Well; where I give from the fountain of My Heart, to every Samaritan----every soul that thirsts, the living water, which quenches the thirst for earthly things, and springs up into life everlasting; who, when the labors of the day are over, pass the night in the prayer of God.
Here I am the Good Shepherd: I go in search of the lost sheep, and, when found, I carry it, and warm it in My bosom: I love My flock, and feed the same with My Own substance: I guard all, watching over them with My Heart, by day and by night.
Here I am the kind Father, Who with gladness embrace My prodigal son, when he returns; Who, having clothed him with his first garment, restore and entertain him with a heavenly banquet: and who, according to their capacity, share all things with My faithful children.
Here I am the Divine Physician, since I soothe and alleviate, with the unction of My Heart, the sorrows of the suffering: since I cure the souls that are ill, healing every ailment and infirmity: since I do also take away the deformity caused by the sickness of sin, and restore former beauty.
Here I am a Teacher. For I teach by the whisperings of My Heart, as well as by My example; Blessed are the poor in spirit: blessed the meek: blessed they that mourn for sin: blessed they that hunger and thirst after justice: blessed the merciful: blessed the clean of heart: blessed the peacemakers: blessed they that suffer persecution for justice's sake: blessed, in fine, they that do the Divine Will; because they are My brethren and sisters, and co-heirs of the kingdom of Heaven.
Here I am a Friend, Who style the faithful, that, by grace, lead a supernatural life, no more My servants, but My friends: a Friend, such as there is none other, more sincere, more sweet, more faithful than all, in prosperity and in adversity, in life and in death: a Friend that under no circumstances is wanting, yea, accompanying and consoling even in eternity.
Here I am the Bridegroom: yea, My Child; the Divine Bridegroom of virginal and chaste souls, whom I have chosen and espoused to Myself, that, always and everywhere, they may follow Me as My companions; them I here honor and enrich, and render blissful, in a manner which fills the very Angels with wonder, and yet is merely a prelude to that which I reserve for them in the kingdom of My glory.
7. Here, lastly, are also the mysteries of the rest of My life. For, is not here the Supper-room. where I eat the Passover with My Disciples; where I pour out My Heart to them; where I leave them My peace?
Is not here Gethsemane, Jerusalem, the theatre of My sorrows? Remember, Child, the Holy Week, how the faithful come hither, as to the spectacle of My Sufferings; how they weep, as if before their eyes they beheld Me in suffering.
Is not here, too, the mystery of the Resurrection? See how the Church. when celebrating this solemnity of solemnities, returns, as it were, with Me to life, and bow, like other Marys, at the first dawn, pious souls hasten to My glorious Sepulchre, and behold Me, by faith, in My glory; embrace Me, by hope, enjoy Me, by love. And is this not lawfully so? is it not rightly? is it not sacredly? for, here I am truly present with the same qualities with which I rose again: with a heavenly beauty, with a glorious brightness, with an incomprehensible subtlety, with a perfect impassibility, adorned and blissful with immortality.
Thus, My Child, the Church accompanies Me through every mystery, puts on in each of them the feelings of My Heart, and celebrates each with similar affections.
8. From the mysteries here celebrated before Me, the Church, mindful that I am reigning in the glory of Heaven, gazes forward into eternity: she contemplates with rapture, she anticipates in affection, those most joyous mysteries of the life in Heaven, those ever-enduring festivals prepared for her, promised to her.
O Jesus! she exclaims in her ardor, may that soon be for which I long so exceedingly, that, beholding Thee with face unveiled, I may be blessed with the sight of Thy glory.
Thus, Child, glows the Church, enkindled with the fire of My Heart here present: thus has she all things present to herself: thus is she filled with every consolation.
Take the sun away out of this world; what will this earth be, except a dark, cold, and dreary place? In like manner, if My living and life-giving Heart, if My Sacramental presence were taken away from the Church, all the mysteries of Religion, now so full of splendor, so soul-stirring, so consoling,----how different should they then appear.
9. Taught by the example of thy holy Mother, apply thyself, My Child, to celebrate the festivals of Religion with the same feelings; to recall to mind the mysteries which I display here in the Sacrament; in fine, to draw for thyself, from all these sources, the plenitude of all graces.
For this end do thou animate the fervor of thy heart: a fervor, I say, not necessarily sensible, but vigorous with the liveliness of faith, the confidence (if hope, the generosity of love.
If thou art destitute of this fervor, thou wilt do everything without affection, without relish, without much fruit: that which enraptures fervent souls, stirs up the Angels themselves, will not affect, will not move thee.
But this fervor thou wilt awaken and foster in thyself by prayer, by devout meditation, by pious i reading, by mortifying and denying thyself in some things; and, especially, by frequently visiting this divine Sacrament, and by religiously partaking thereof; since here there is fire enough to inflame the whole world.
6. The voice of the Disciple.----O Lord Jesus! how boundless are the excesses of the love of Thy Heart! how many wonders dost Thou here present to me! how many good things! how sweet! how desirable!
What wonder if I am allured, if I am gently and powerfully drawn hither! what wonder if here is the place of my heart's delights!
Here, amidst the Angels, I can find Thee in every mystery; I can behold Thee in every condition of Thy life, as my necessities, my profit, or my comfort may require.
Yea, here I can now be with Thee and enjoy Thy favors; here again, if I lift myself up, I may contemplate Thee in Thy glory, view the wonders of Thy kingdom, and rejoice beforehand in what Thou hast there prepared for me.
How easy, O Beloved of my soul! how easy and sweet it is, to meditate here, to occupy the mind and the heart with Thee here, to enjoy Thee here! for this I need no skill, no book, no labor. Here, present before Thee, I need only gaze upon Thee by faith in every mystery, hearken to Thee, watch Thy actions, implore Thee, love Thee.
O how delightful is this place! how lovely the company! how sweet the employment! how holy the intercourse!
Who does not wish to be here with Thee forever? Here certainly I will be present at Thy feet, among the heavenly spirits, as often as I can.
O that I could spend here all my time! But Thy Will, which is my sole comfort, requires that I be often absent in person, that I comply with the obligations of my state, that I fulfill the duties of my office, that I provide for the needs of nature, that I even use an innocent relaxation.
Yet, amidst all these, I will frequently turn in affection to Thee, I will occupy my heart with Thee: for wherever is the object of my love, thither also tends my heart: wheresoever my treasure is, there also will be my heart.
CHAPTER XV. THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS IN THE MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST, LEADS US TO THE DIVINE PERFECTIONS
1. The voice of Jesus.-----Attend, My Child, and here, in the Sacrament, I will show thee a still higher way, whereby thou mayst ascend in contemplation even to the very perfections of the Deity.
Be thou prepared, that thou mayst enter into the Divine secrets, and that, with all the Saints, thou mayst contemplate the height, and breadth, and depth of those oceans, whence in Heaven the Angels and Blessed, and on earth, pure and interior souls draw, and are inebriated.
Behold what My Heart makes known to thee here in this most sacred mystery: and, following the Divine Spirit, from what is here made known, go thou forward into the plenitude of things.
But do all this in such a manner, My Child, that thou becomest more and more established in humility, that thou ever glowest with a purer love, so that, being introduced by My sacred Humanity, by My Heart Itself thou mayst cling----as forming but one and the same Spirit----to the Deity, as perfectly as thou art able.
2. Look into and ponder the Divine Wisdom which My Heart displays in this adorable Sacrament.
Here It shows forth those marvelous inventions, whereby It reconciled those things which appeared contrary; so that, at one and the same time, I should reign amidst glorious triumphs in Heaven, and abide upon earth the everlasting Comforter of men; whereby I might be enabled to give Myself not only to the human race, but to every individual as well: whereby, in fine, through the most simple means, such as those of the Sacramental species, I might obtain the most sublime ends.
Hence do thou mount higher, and contemplate this infinite Wisdom, which reaches all things from eternity to eternity: which beholds all present, the past and the future, things existing and things possible.
This, by its eternal counsels, ordained, in a manner so marvelous, all the stupendous works of the Creation and Restoration, of nature and grace, of sanctification and glory.
This Divine perfection is like an infinite light, which penetrates all; which completely surveys thee and thy whole interior; from which thou canst not recede, which thou art unable to grasp.
In this light do thou rejoice, My Child: herein live thou cheerfully for thy God.
3. Observe the Divine Goodness, which is made manifest in this most sweet Sacrament, and is resplendent with such flames of love.
Nowhere on earth does the Divine Goodness shine forth with so wonderful a profusion, with so great a sweetness: for here it does, as it were, pour out and exhaust itself: here it gives all things and itself over and above. Elsewhere, are the rays of Divine love, here is its focus. Elsewhere, there are some good things, here is the fountain of them all.
From this, proceed thou to the contemplation of this abyss of Goodness. Look into its depth, survey eternity itself; thou shalt find no bounds.
From this infinite Goodness everything that is good, whether in Heaven or on earth, derives its goodness: everything that lives, its life: everything that moves, its vigor: everything that understands, its intelligence: everything that is happy, its bliss.
This Divine attribute is, as it were, a boundless ocean, whence arises as a cloud, the plenitude of all things good into which, while the Blessed and Elect are immersed, they rejoice in supreme delight.
My Child, plunge thyself also Into the same: taste how sweet is the Goodness of thy God: therein do thou rejoice, love, praise.
4. Behold the Almighty Power, which is revealed in the venerable mystery of the Eucharist, in which alone it works more and greater wonders than in all the world beside: in which it ceases not to renew these astonishing prodigies.
After having reverently viewed these things, lift thyself up to a general contemplation of this stupendous Omnipotence; which, without labor, at its mere pleasure, made all things that have existence: which produces countless and unutterable objects of every kind, all things, in short, if it only wills: which, again, by its simple nod, is able to destroy the whole world, and bring all things to naught.
Contemplate the efficacy of this infinite Power, which can overthrow all the attempts of its opponents, and bring it to pass that all things warring against it,----not only those which are indifferent, but even such as are evil,----do, unconsciously, and even in spite of themselves, concur to its own holy ends.
By this Omnipotence, not only are creatures preserved in being, but they receive besides power to effect whatsoever they do: men receive the Divine concurrence to use the faculties of body and soul: animals their efficiency: the stars their force of rolling and glittering in space: the earth its vigor to produce fruits: the winds and storms their might and impetuosity: in fine, all things their excellence.
This Divine perfection, in its manifestation, is like the atmosphere, which, when it is gently stirred, refreshes and invigorates the life of creatures: when it moves with violence, lays prostrate and scatters whatever opposes, but to whatever yields, gives a new impulse, and helps it to go forward.
Rejoice, My Child, at so great a Power of thy God: place thy trust therein; and, by prayer, have frequently recourse to the same.
5. Consider the divine Justice, of which My Heart reminds thee in this most Blessed Sacrament.
Behold! My sacred Humanity, which is here present for thee, is the sign of the Divine Justice; for I assumed it, to make satisfaction to the same. And does not the Sacrifice, which My Heart here offers daily, through the ministry of the priests, put thee in mind of the Divine Justice? Nay more, do I not display an adorable Justice in the Communion, when I give there to every one according to his works, according to his disposition?
Contemplate thence the perfection of this Divine Justice, whether in Heaven,----whence it hurled, like lightning, the wickedly rebellious spirits; and wherein it recompenses forever with a condign reward all, even the least, good deeds of the Angels and Saints:----or whether on earth, where, through My Heart, it is allied to the Divine mercy, and reaches those only who are unwilling to embrace mercy; where, also, when it is justly incensed, it is mindful of mercy:----or whether in Hell, where, for My sake, it punishes below the full desert of the reprobate, and so adapts punishment to the number and grievousness of sins, that it forces the condemned themselves to confess that the Divine Justice is good.
Consider the consolation of this Divine attribute which will one day justify, in the presence of all, them that are now oppressed by unmerited detraction, by reproaches, or by calumnies; and which will not only restore reputation, and honor, and glory, and whatsoever else has been taken away, but will exalt all things the more, the lower they I have been depressed; which will make good, by an ever-enduring reward, all deeds of virtue, even those which men slighted; which, in fine, estimates and repays the merits of works, not according to their outward success, as does the world, but according to the inward disposition of him that performs them.
This Divine perfection is like fire, which, according as objects are disposed, by the same action, consumes these, cheers those; hardens some, softens others. Admire this attribute of the Deity, My Child; exalt it with a holy fear; but cherish it more.
6. Direct thy mind to the Divine Mercy, which My Heart displays in the most Holy Sacrament, in ways as sweet as they are wonderful.
Is not this whole mystery a marvel of infinite Mercy? Who is there alive, that does not endure misery? but what unfortunate one has come hither with proper dispositions, and has not found mercy? Boundless is here the kindness of My Heart, and there is no end to Its compassion.
Then thou hast devoutly meditated hereon, proceed to the consideration of the infinite Mercy visible everywhere: in Heaven, which the Divine Mercy fills with Saints, whom formerly it freed from sin and now crowns with bliss: on earth, where it hovers over all the works of God, and refreshes them by remedy, and assistance, and consolation: finally, in Hell itself, where, on account of the merits of My Heart, it punishes less than what is due, and is acknowledged by the reprobate themselves.
Contemplate the vastness of this Divine Mercy toward men; which embraces all, excludes none, casts off nobody; which waits for the very sinners so long as they live, and offers them grace sufficient for their conversion and pardon; which, in fine, extends itself to all miseries of whatsoever kind, and finds naught in this world, how wretched soever it may be, which it is not willing to relieve, and, in a direct or indirect manner, to turn into a means of salvation.
Behold, a Divine perfection, like an infinite abyss, which no magnitude of miseries cast into it, can fill up; which no multiplicity of necessities which draw therefrom, can exhaust.
Use thou, My Child, but do not abuse so sweet an attribute of thy God: widen thy heart: be thankful: fly to this abyss of mercy with faith, with hope, with love.
7. Observe the Sanctity which shines forth in this Holy of Holies; which by its splendor throws the Angels themselves into an ecstasy.
With deep piety look thou into this Sacrament, the mirror of the Divine Sanctity. Here, everything is perfect purity: here, My Body is itself as a Spirit; here, all breathes holiness.
Hence, thou mayst contemplate infinite Sanctity, which, absolutely perfect in itself, is the cause, the standard, the end of all created holiness, of all purity, of all beauty; which is such that nothing can be added thereto, nothing be taken therefrom.
Gaze upon this Divine perfection; captivated by the purest beauty of which, the inhabitants of Heaven are overspread with a beatific joy: by the similitude of which, when the souls of mortals are adorned, they become supremely ennobled: on account of the majesty of which, the demons tremble even in the lowest Hell.
From the brightness of this perfection, whatsoever is beautiful, whatsoever is lovely, whatsoever is excellent, borrows its every beauty, its every loveliness, its every excellence.
This Divine attribute is like the sun in the firmament; which imparts to objects the brightness of color, elegance, cheerfulness: which, shining upon things clean and unclean, is ever equally pure, ever equally beautiful.
Rejoice thou, My Child, at so great a beauty and loveliness; so great and varied an excellence of the sanctity of thy God: affectionately revere the same, imitate it according to thy ability.
8. Behold the Divine Immensity, which this Sacrament of My Heart represents.
For here I am wholly in the whole Consecrated Host, and wholly in every particle of the Host when divided. And by the multiplication or replication of My Presence in all the Hosts, all over the earth, do I not display a certain representation of immensity? Finally, in every place, where I abide sacramentally, do I not so deal with each one as if I there abode for him alone?
By conceiving these things with a lively faith, thou wilt assuredly be led to the contemplation of the Divine immensity, which contains all things, whether existing or whether merely possible, and is contained by none: whereby the Deity is wholly in the whole universe, and wholly in every part of the universe.
Contemplate this universal presence of the Divinity, together with His infinite Wisdom, and Goodness and Power, and Justice, and Mercy, and Sanctity, and infinite Perfection of every kind: and remember that in Him thou art, thou livest, thou movest.
Whithersoever thou mayst turn thyself, thou perceivest the Deity present in every object, and so caring for the same, as if He were there for it alone. Behold the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap, and yet He that is present everywhere, feeds them. Consider the lilies of the field: they labor not, neither do they spin; and yet, not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these.
To this Divine Providence, therefore, do thou entrust thyself: rest thou in the same, as in the bosom of a Father supremely perfect: abandon thyself wholly to Him, for He has a care of thee. Behold the very hairs of thy head are all numbered, neither does one fall without His Will. Fear not then, neither be thou troubled, nor uneasy: but live resigned to Him, and blissful in Him.
9. The voice of the Disciple.---Truly full of consolation is all this, O Lord God, but how sublime! Of my own accord, I neither dare nor can essay things so exalted. If, however, Thy Divine Spirit guide me, reverently indeed and conscious of my own weakness, I will follow Thee with joy and security, and having entered, through Thy most sacred Humanity, into the wonderful works of the Divinity, I will contemplate the things which surpass all understanding.
Send, therefore, I beseech Thee, Thy Holy Spirit to lead me so far into this contemplation as Thou wilt kindly deem it conducive to my sanctification and Thy glory.
Grant me, I humbly implore Thee, this Divine Spirit, with His seven-fold gifts, that He may guide me both in contemplation and in action.
The Spirit of wisdom, Who may so dispose me wholly, that I do find all things of earth distasteful, and those of God full of delight; that I do rightly judge and feel concerning all; that I seek with affection after whatsoever serves for my sanctification.
The Spirit of understanding, to remove and disperse darkness of mind, illusions of heart; that, with a calm mind and clean heart, I may view all that infinite Goodness has made, things seen and unseen; and that I may ever understand what the Divine Will, infinitely good, requires of me.
The Spirit of counsel, to remind me ever of my own weakness,---whereby I am unable to do aught for my salvation,---and to induce me efficaciously to have recourse to the help of Divine Omnipotence, by whose aid I can do all things.
The Spirit of fortitude, that He may move me to exert all my strength, to co-operate faithfully with the help of Divine grace; that thus I may, by generous efforts, aspire after perfect justice, without caring for the judgments of men, regarding Thee alone, the just Judge.
The Spirit of knowledge, that He may teach me discernment, whereby I may, practically I distinguish between things natural and supernatural; so that my every prayer and action may always begin from Thee, and be perfected through Thee; and whereby I may so devote myself to praying and acting, that, for the sweetness of contemplation, I do neither neglect the works of corporal and spiritual mercy toward my neighbor, nor, for the sake of works of merry toward others, overlook mercy toward my own soul.
The Spirit of piety, Who, by fostering in me a tender devotion, may stimulate me gently and strongly to holiness; and may cause me to conduct myself as a compassionate parent toward inferiors, as an affectionate brother toward equals, as a dutiful son toward Superiors.
The Spirit of a loving fear, of a filial, pure love; whereby I may, everywhere, supremely revere Thee, my God, and joyfully fulfill, with a holy affection, Thy every Will.
CHAPTER XVI. HOW GREAT A REVERENCE, BOTH OUTWARD AND INWARD, THE HEART OF JESUS WILLS US TO HAVE FOR THE MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT
1. The voice of Jesus.-----My Child, if the heavens were thrown open before thee, and if thy eyes beheld there My glory; how thou wouldst be affected by this sight! how thou wouldst tremble with holy awe! with what reverence thou wouldst fall prostrate!
For, before My throne, sending forth the splendors of glory, like blazing flames and lightnings, thou shouldst behold thousands of thousands of Angels praising Me with all veneration; and, standing around the throne, ten thousand times a hundred thousand ministering to Me.
Thou shouldst, also, behold the mighty throng of Saints, whom thou couldst not count, falling upon their faces in sight of the throne, adoring, and melting with love.
Thou shouldst behold how everything is aglow in My presence: at one time thou shouldst perceive how, by reason of the greatness of the all-pervading reverence, there reigns a deep silence throughout Heaven; at another, how the whole place resounds with the voice of its inhabitants, bursting forth and singing in unison: Amen: blessing, and glory, and wisdom and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and strength, to our God forever and ever.
Now, My Child, I the same, Who in Heaven am worshipped with such a manifestation of honor and praise, am here present in the most Blessed Sacrament, surrounded by a multitude of heavenly Spirits.
See, therefore, and consider, how mortals ought to conduct themselves toward Me. If the very pillars of Heaven tremble with awe, what should the dust of the earth do?
2. Here, I desire reverence, here I claim honor, here I exact due worship.
By the free choice of My Heart, I was born in a stable, and I so passed My mortal life, that I had not where to recline My head; but, when I was about to institute this most Holy Sacrament, I ordered to be prepared a large Supper-room furnished, to show how much I wished to be respected and honored, and worshiped in My Sacramental life.
Taught by this, the Church has ever loved the beauty of My house, and erected, to the best of her power, magnificent temples: she has called to her aid nature, that by richness, and art, that by genius, they might adorn My chosen dwelling-places: ever full of solicitude, she has taken care that, according to the desire of My Heart, she may honor Me every way in this most august mystery, and thus testify her own love for Me.
If thou lovest Me, My Child, yea, if thou hast faith, and by its supernal light, viewest My Majesty here veiled, and all that visibly and invisibly surrounds Me, thou wilt surely ever exhibit here supreme reverence.
Thou wilt not here appear before Me among the Angels, except inwardly and outwardly full of recollection and veneration; thou wilt show interiorly and exteriorly naught save piety and devotedness, reverential awe, and love.
3. The voice of the Disciple.---Truly, O Lord Jesus, Thou, the love and beatitude of all the Angels and Saints! truly, Thou art here to be worshiped with every regard, with every sanctity of love. Holiness becomes Thy very Tabernacle, Thy very house.
For Thou art the Holy- of Holies, and dwellest in Holiness, where the Angelic Spirits themselves appear trembling with awe, and admire the unapproachable splendors of sanctity.
How, then, shall a mortal man, if he considers Thy infinite Majesty, and his own utter unworthiness, dare to present himself before Thee?
Assuredly, didst Thou Thyself not invite me to draw near, and did not the well-known goodness of, Thy Heart calm the vehemence of my dread; frightened, I would depart from Thee, because I am a sinful person; neither should I dare to come to Thee, lest, perhaps, I might be guilty of Thy offended Majesty.
But behold! that very kindness of Thy Heart, which calls on me so mercifully, and breathes confidence into me with so fatherly an affection, is a new cause for reverence.
For if, through want of reverence, I misuse this grace, I become the more guilty, since I am bad, because Thou art good.
4. O Christ Jesus, my God, All-knowing and All-powerful! how awe-inspiring is this place, wherein Thou art truly present!
How shall I demean myself, in a manner worthy of Thy presence in this most Holy Sacrament; where all that I behold around me, warns me that the highest respect must be shown!
This ever-burning light tells me that, through a lively faith, I should be mindful where, and in Whose Presence I am.
The secluded Sanctuary warns me, that the place of Thy abode is holy with no ordinary sanctity.
The lofty Tabernacle reminds me how lowly and full of reverential feeling I ought to appear in Thy sight.
The brightness of the sacred vessels teaches me how great an inward and outward purity is required.
Every soul, here rapt in thought, busied with Thy love, admonishes me, with how great a devotion, with how tender an affection, it behooves me to deal with Thee.
5. O Jesus, God of all sanctity! Thou teachest me how perfect a reverence must here be shown to Thee; since Thou art not willing that anyone should be near to Thee here, or dwell beneath the same roof with Thee, except heavenly Spirits, and those angels of earth, religious persons, and Thy priests who are to be so clean of heart that they may deserve to see God, so chaste in body that they may embrace purity itself!
With what dispositions of body and soul ought I, therefore, to come hither, since I am associated with so pure, so holy a company! If Daniel, if Tobias, if John, the beloved Disciple, if other Saints, in the presence of one Angel, were so struck with his aspect, and seized with so great a reverence, that they fell prostrate upon the
ground; with what sentiments should I be animated here, where I am in the presence of so many Angels; yea, even before Thyself, the Lord of all the Angels!
Surely, no unbefitting thought, no inferior affection ought to occupy me here. Nay more, as often as I repair hither, I must not only keep myself free from every evil, but also honor Thee by holy acts of virtue.
6. Of how great a wrath of Thy indignation, of how great a punishment of Thy justice should I be deserving, if, in Thy presence, I should busy my heart with unlawful thoughts or evil affections; if thus I dared here to appear unholy among angelic Spirits, and insult Thee to Thy face with so great a disrespect, so offensive to Thy Heart!
O did I but follow faith, I should doubtless neither suffer my thoughts to stray, nor my affections to be poured out elsewhere, nor myself to be turned in any-wise away from Thee, as if Thou, O supreme bliss of all! wert not sufficient for me, and worthy of my attention!
O Lord God! I tremble when I think on the greatness of the irreverence whereof I render myself guilty, when I appear to honor Thee with my lips, whilst my heart is far away from Thee, engaged with things which it either inordinately loves or fears, or with objects of dissipation which it cares not to remove.
Alas! my very exterior proves by how great a distraction my heart is dissipated; in how great a desolateness it languishes, even when here before Thee I partake of a heavenly fellowship.
7. And yet, my outward deference ought not to be less than the inward; since Thou requirest equally the homage of the body and of the soul in this most august Sacrament, where Thou, my God, art Thyself present with Body and Soul.
It is befitting, therefore, that the greatest modesty do here appear, and be made known to all men, because Thou, O Lord, art so near.
Here no idle word should find a place: no inquisitive, no wandering look; no position, no motion of the body in the least disrespectful.
O Jesus, life and sweetness of my soul! although there is naught on earth which delights me more than the most Holy Sacrament of the love of Thy Heart, there is, at the same time, naught that fills me more with dread.
For, if I use it rightly and reverently, I find in it all things desirable. If, on the contrary, I use it wrongfully and irreverently, what dreadful evils do I draw upon myself!
8. But, O if I loved Thee sufficiently, if my heart were inflamed with that Divine fire with which Thy Heart is here burning, there would be no need of such an amount of reasons to induce me to exhibit to Thee a due regard.
For, then I would not only most studiously avoid every irreverence, but I would demean myself before Thee in that manner which love alone understands; with that delicate attentiveness which the purity alone of love can teach.
Then, how sweet would it be for me to spend in Thy presence a happy and joyous time, rapt in love of Thee, forgetful of all beside.
Then, how eagerly would I desire to visit Thee in Thy most lovely Tabernacle, and prove to Thee my love.
Then, with how holy and delicious a hunger and thirst would I be urged forward, to resort frequently to the heavenly banquet, which Thou hast here prepared with so great a sweetness.
9. Grant me, therefore, most loving and amiable Jesus; grant me love for Thee; a love which may soften and expand my hard heart, and fill it with the unction of piety.
Inflame me wholly with that love, wherewith the Angelic Spirits, and so many pure souls, are here burning in Thy presence, and whereby they honor Thee so perfectly.
O Lord! have pity on me, and forgive me every negligence in Thy regard; every distraction of mind, every dissipation of heart, whatsoever, in fine, I have done contrary to that reverence which is due to Thee:
And kindly grant that, as Thy favors to me are ever increasing, and being heaped up, so also my love for Thee may be augmented and redoubled.
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